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May 12, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | May 12, 2006 |

The moronic spin on the old Dracula tale takes another derivative detour with this third installment of the Blade series, a vapid franchise that not only fails to add any originality to the stale vampire mythology, but fails to do so with stultifying gusto. David Goyer — who wrote the screenplays for the all three Blade movies and takes the director’s chair in Trinity — seems to believe that by adding leather jackets and a techno-industrial soundtrack to rehashed bloodsucking lore that somehow simpleton movie goers will whoop and cheer as carnage is splayed and “mother fucker” one-liners are crammed down our esophagi.

And unfortunately for the fate of box office humanity, even this simpleton moviegoer is all too willing to go along, at least so long as Black Lab is piercing my eardrums, Jessica Biel is showing off her midriff, and Ryan Reynolds is imploring his victims to “Fuck [him], sideways.” Regrettably, however, as soon as the credits roll, the entire, shoddy production dissipates in your mind like blood-soaked cotton candy, leaving little but the ashen entrails of a less-than-mediocre movie-going experience.

Having taken on the vampires in the original Blade, and allying with them against the reapers in the second movie, our scowling, half-breed Daywalker (Wesley Snipes) is set to clash with the ultimate nemesis in this third, and supposedly final, installment: Dracula. Danica Talos, (Parker Posey), who delivers a charmingly vampy, sarcastically camp performance as the villainous ringleader (“You should all stop talking about dick, it provokes my envy”), brings the bloodsucking world into the new millennium with Palm Pilots and a half-baked PR campaign against Blade, ultimately pitting the Daywalker not only against other vampires, but the world’s law enforcement community, and even worse, public perception. After Blade’s sidekickian Q, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), is finally done away with early in the film, and the PR battle looks all but lost, Blade is forced to team up with the Nightwalkers, led by Whistler’s bastard daughter, Abigail (Biel), and Hannibal King (Reynolds) to take on the Double Ds: Danica and Dracula.

For ardent fans of the grim, camped-out seriousness of the first two Blade movies, the gory excesses and the focus-tested casting additions of Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel may ultimately disappoint, but for me, it is Hannibal and Abigail who bring the few thrills to this dying franchise. Whenever Snipes appears onscreen with his uncomfortable scowl — appearing as though he’s trying to get his mouth around a set of ill-fitting braces — to phone in his baritoned wisecracks, the movie feels a decade past its sell date - stale and lethargic. Snipes has fashioned himself as an African-American version of an ’80s Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Blade Series, and his scenes feel about as decayed and unfunny as did Arnold’s in the most recent Terminator movie, as Snipes grunts and sneers at the faceless (mostly ethnic) victims around him.

Indeed, it is in the attempts to sell out the franchise that any joy is had in Blade: Trinity. Ryan Reynolds — who, by now, deserves a better reference point than National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (perhaps “Alanis Morissette’s husband”) — provides the comic relief in the form of the Jason Lee-esque, curse-filled, beautifully lame, one-liners delivered with well-timed and enthusiastic bravado. His inability to shut up while onscreen and his two scenes with Parker Posey are perhaps the film’s finest moments. Jessica Biel, wielding a bow and arrow and an Ipod throughout most of the movie, provides the trip-hop kick-assery as the poor man’s Jennifer Garner, pummeling vampires in her skimpy outfits and taking overly long showers for the teenage boy demographic. Like its predecessors, Blade: Trinity is mostly style over substance, but the style is infinitely more digestible when we are allowed to watch pretty people overact instead of enduring Ron Perlmann or Donal Logue do the same.

Goyer doesn’t provide quite the visual flair that Guillermo del Toro brought to Blade II, but the action scenes are serviceably quick-cut for the attention deficit at heart. Mostly, the vampire skirmishes consists of highlight reels from the first two movies slapped together with a blood pumping soundtrack to instill some beer-commercial machismo into the otherwise silly violence. And, because it is the final act in the series, Goyer pulls out all the stops, culminating the film with an overlong sword-play finale featuring Blade taking on Dracula, get this, sans the leather jacket.

Blade: Trinity is mostly a forgettable endeavor, but for two hours, it manages to provide fans of the genre with a quick fix until the next bland Vampire movie comes along — let’s just hope that its Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) who decide to take upon that task, and not Wesley Snipes.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba and managing partner of its parent company, which prefers to remain anonymous for reasons pertaining to public relations. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

Blade: Trinity / Dustin Rowles

Film | May 12, 2006 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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